In Chapter 2 of "1984," what is the bad news delivered through the tele-screen?
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Chapter 2 opens with Winston discovering that he did not put away his new diary after having written in it Down With Big Brother, which presages many problems that follow later in the book. The party, meanwhile, announces that "the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grams to twenty." Such "bad news" always follows "good news," Winston recognizes, this time the "good news" being that Oceana's forces had a "glorious victory" against their Eurasian enemy. The bad news is ususally true, while the good news fictitious, making a pretense for the bad.
The bad news is that the chocolate ration is being cut from 30 grams to 20 grams.
But the interesting thing about this announcement is that the very next day (in chapter four) the government is praised for raising the chocolate ration to 20 grams. No one seems to question this incongruity. Winston thinks about it, but no one says a word.
The bad news delivered by the telescreen was that the chocolate ration would be reduced from 30 grams to 20 grams at the start of the following week. Later on in the Ministry of Truth as Winston was correcting information for The Times, it was revealed that the Ministry of Plenty had some time back issued a categorical pledge that there would be no further reduction of chocolate rations during that year. Ironically, one day later, demonstrations were held in praise of Big Brother for increasing the chocolate ration to twenty grams. Winston was stunned at how mindless everyone else seemed to be for forgetting in just a span of twenty four hours that the ration had actually been decreased and not increased.
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